WITH regime change all but off the Western agenda, embracing inclusiveness and constructive engagement requires the Zimbabwean government to address governance issues.
By Tapiwa Nyandoro
Indices of aspects to be monitored include the rule of law (addressed previously), regulatory framework, the attendant government effectiveness and, of course, combating corruption.
In a World Bank report on the role of governance in developing Asian economies, the last three aspects of governance have been shown to constrain growth the most in developing countries.
Over the years Zimbabwe has acquired the dubious distinction of being one of the worst offenders in all three.
Needless to say the Justice ministry played a central role in this malaise. Now under Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, it should correct its ways.
The excuse of combating and evading sanctions that allowed an elite and increasingly corrupt few to set up a parallel government and be a law unto itself at the expense of governance and to the detriment of the country, in particular its poor, is now all but gone.
The raising of the ministry to Vice-Presidential Office suggests that the Presidency recognises the damage the ministry has done to the economy and is alive to its strategic role in reversing that damage if ZimAsset is to see the light of the day.
As the European Union dangles a five- year $300 million aid carrot to improve governance, support health and agriculture, in the process providing relief to the liquidity crisis, the government has to toe the line.
This is especially so as most in Zanu PF have also observed that its half- baked ZimAsset programme is nothing but wishful thinking in the absence of international goodwill that unlocks financing and debt relief.
Again who is best placed to correct the aspects of intentional poor governance than seasoned cadres from the “intelligence community” whose duty is “to know things”? The two Vice-Presidents’ résumés come in handy.
For too long the legal and regulatory landscape has been aligned to serve the political establishment in power.
Reform requires that the country takes centre stage and institutions be strengthened. The parallel government has to be disbanded. It’s time is up.
Its operations are not transparent; neither do they qualify to be called statecraft.
They usurp the people’s will, but they do not fool the world.
The report on the US$270m stashed in Swiss bank HSBC by supposedly Zimbabwean patriots is an example of how the world is not easily fooled.
Didymus Mutasa let the big black cat out of the bag when he disclosed that some policies are presented to Cabinet and the politburo by way of memoranda with debate on them being stifled, presumably by the chair, or those pulling the strings from the shadows.
The nature of his booting-out also suggests that he was never the Minister of State Security.
The organisation probably reported elsewhere or was afraid of a “hidden, more ruthless, undemocratic parallel hand”.
As so often said: “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Rampant corruption, the usual result of a parallel government, breeds a privileged pseudo-nationalistic Swiss banking sector that thrives on patronage, lawlessness and inefficiencies.
The latter in the end is more effective than foreign sanctions and may lead to rebellion. Take away the sanctions and the enemy becomes all too obvious.
For the clique in power it is time to reform and move with the times. The reform requires the skill and steady hands of a bomb disposal expert.
VP Mnangagwa’s reputation of “coolness under pressure” and VP Mphoko’s well-horned diplomatic skills, not to mention his contacts, both meet the job specification of a VP at the present time very well.
It will be hard, if not an explosive affair, for Cabinet, let alone the politburo, to regain their independence from the hidden hand of the power behind the recent internal Zanu PF coup.
On a more ambitious note, the President would have noted the Vice-Presidents’ deep regional roots. VP Mnangagwa could well be Zambian.
During his formative years he went to school and university there. And so could VP Mphoko whose Zipra forces called it home.
Both would feel at home in Mozambique, our eastern neighbour. VP Mphoko took a bride there and his children could well run for the highest office in that country.
All three gentlemen may now be regretting Zanu’s rebuff of President Samora Machel’s call for uniting Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Then Mozambique, although it had practically liberated Zimbabwe, was poor and newly independent Zimbabwe rich and— dare we say – vain. Now it is the laughing stock of the region.
President Robert Mugabe’s speech in Lusaka (when he talked about Zambia and Zimbabwe being Siamese twins) while attending the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu shows that he is now more into the merits of regional economic, political and monetary integration.
It helps also that he is Sadc’s chair, not to mention that of the African Union.
That he needed his small country and himself to be tossed around by the West may have helped. “To every cloud,” they say, “there is a silver lining.”
Africa cannot rely on the Chinese and Russians for everything. It has to build its own economic and military superpower(s).
Could the recent appointment of VPs, with a regional flavour signal the long overdue need to put emphasis on regional integration?
If so, I am happy. As they say: “All is good that ends well.”
Tapiwa Nyandoro can be contacted on
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org